What strategies do you use to manage workload and protect your well being?
I've put in place a few rules, which I do my best to stick to. Not always successfully; but even when I do fail, they're there in the back of my mind for next time. Here goes:
1. Earliest I'll get to work is 7.30am
2. Latest I'll stay at school is 5pm (unless it's a consultation evening or other diaried event)
3. I try to avoid working in the evening. If I do, I try not to do so two nights in a row; and I don't work past 9pm.
4. Weekends: I have at least 1 day off each weekend School are reasonably supportive, but like so many others they're struggling with reduced budgets - so staff well-being has been one of the first things to dissolve.
What advice would you give anyone who felt like giving up?
This last term has been especially tough - one of my hardest since I retrained and started teaching 2 years ago. I think it was a combination of factors: an increased timetable; behaviour issues; lack of support from others in department/elsewhere in school (although see my answer to Q3 - so much of this is budget related, and completely out of the control of my colleagues). I think what has kept me going is being honest, and talking about issues quickly when they've come up, and seeking help when I need it. Never be afraid to do this - this is such a demanding job, and everyone has their peaks and troughs. It can feel lonely in the classroom sometimes, but teaching is a team sport. Lean on them when you need to, and be ready to listen when someone else needs to talk. Otherwise, keeping the basics in focus is also *so* important. Tiredness has a massive effect on my mood, especially towards the end of the week; so I take more early nights than I used to, and having a bath can work wonders for the quality of my sleep. Also important to eat well (and I'm blessed that my lovely wife is such a good cook!), and not overdo other things such as alcohol. They can be an effective short-term fix - but over time, they cause more problems than they solve.
Sum up the profession in 5 words.
Not easy, so the best I can do is: Be kind, know your subject.